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    Review of MALLETS AFORETHOUGHT by Sarah Graves (see her website)


    Bantam Books, March 2004

    While working on a long-abandoned historic home, Jacobia 'Jake' Tiptree and her friend Ellie White discover the body of a long-dead flapper--and a much more recent corpse. Nobody much regrets Hector Gosling's death. The man was a swindler and a cheat. But the problem is, Ellie's husband George has been making all sorts of noises about wishing Hector were dead. And the more the police look into it, the more evidence they find that points directly at George. Jake finally decides that it's up to her and to vastly pregnant Ellie to get to the bottom of the mystery.

    It turns out that there were plenty of people with good reason to want Hector dead. His partner is scheduled to inherit everything, Hector broke up his maid's engagement, and he ruined a business deal for a wood-cutting couple who are barely making ends meet. Which makes for plenty of suspects for Jake and Ellie to investigate. The problem is, none of these suspects have more reason to hate Hector than George does, and all seem to have some sort of alibi for the critical times. Only when Jake puts herself in serious harms way does she finally figure out what must have happened. And by then, it just might be too late.

    Author Sarah Graves (see more reviews of novels by Graves) mixes home renovation with detecting in an entertaining story. Jake's largely disfunctional family (ex-drug abusing son, ego-centered ex-husband, and ex-radical bomber ex-husband as well as mobster ex-business partner) are over the top but add interest to the story. Jake and Ellie do some serious detecting and are well motivated through the story. MALLETS AFORETHOUGHT is definitely worth the read.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 5/01/04

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